This website seeks to encourage researchers and collectors to discover and study obscure ephemera that document American culture and life.  Worldcat reveals that most of the items that I post cannot be found in more than a few research libraries–often none at all.  Alternately, research libraries do not bother to catalog ephemeral publications like these.  I believe, however, that because these were distributed free, or at nominal cost, to consumers, they were the publications most likely to make their way into homes and be read by large numbers of Americans.

I acquire pre-1960 examples of the kinds of publications that prove so useful when scholars study 19th-Century America.  The limited competition that I encounter for them suggests that libraries, which could easily outbid me, have little interest in post-Civil War and 20th-century ephemeral publications in general.

I try to anticipate what materials future historians will find useful.  Being an historian first and a collector second, I organized this website to encourage others to do this too—even if this means new competition for me. I am aware that I could be wrong in prizing particular ephemera or even whole classes of ephemera.  I may even be wrong to encourage scholars to study obscure ephemeral publications; these may be obscure for good reason. will permit me to share with others the information and imagery that I am acquiring, and to benefit from the knowledge, intelligence and experience of other scholars and collectors.  Please contact me with your impressions of the site.

~ Saul Zalesch


Quack Almanac; Spanish-Language Edition 1920

Almanac, gallery


Why It's Interesting

The Almanaque Guadalupano was the Spanish title for Dr. J. H. McLean’s well-known almanac.  He also published versions of his main almanac in German, Swedish, and Bohemian, among other languages.  Many of the quack almanacs had foreign language editions, but this is the most interesting alternative-issuer name version of any that I have acquired.  I also have a copy, with the same cover, from 1931.  The McLean-titled almanacs are among the most plentiful, but examples of this title seldom turn up.  Some leading quack almanacs like Ayer’s were already issuing editions in other languages by the 1870s.  The most common language for non-English almanacs in the 19th century was German, with Swedish not far behind.  Some French titles exist.  Spanish became preeminent among other-language editions after World War I.